John Ciardi  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

John Anthony Ciardi (June 24, 1916 – March 30, 1986) was an American poet, translator, and etymologist. While primarily known as a poet, he also translated Dante's Divine Comedy, wrote several volumes of children's poetry, pursued etymology, contributed to the Saturday Review as a columnist and long-time poetry editor, and directed the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Vermont. In 1959, Ciardi published a book on how to read, write, and teach poetry, How Does a Poem Mean?, which has proven to be among the most-used books of its kind. At the peak of his popularity in the early 1960s, Ciardi also had a network television program on CBS, Accent. Ciardi's impact on poetry is perhaps best measured through the younger poets whom he influenced as a teacher and as editor of the Saturday Review.


  • Homeward to America, 1940. Poems.
  • Other Skies, 1947. Poems.
  • Live Another Day, 1949. Poems.
  • Mid-Century American Poems, 1950. Anthology edited by Ciardi.
  • From Time to Time, 1951. Poems.
  • "The Hypnoglyph", 1953. Short story in Fantasy & Science Fiction, using the pseudonym "John Anthony."
  • The Inferno. 1954. Translation.
  • As If: Poems New and Selected, 1955.
  • I Marry You, 1958. Poems.
  • 39 Poems, 1959.
  • The Reason for the Pelican, 1959. Children's poems.
  • How Does a Poem Mean? 1959. Poetry textbook.
  • Scrappy the Pup, 1960. Children's poems.
  • In the Stoneworks, 1961. Poems.
  • The Purgatorio, 1961. Translation.
  • I Met a Man, 1961. Children's poems.
  • The Man Who Sang the Sillies, 1961. Children's poems.
  • In Fact, 1962. Poems.
  • The Wish-Tree, 1962. Children's story.
  • You Read to Me, I'll Read to You, 1962. Children's poems.
  • Dialogue with an Audience, 1963. Saturday Review controversies and other selected essays.
  • John J. Plenty and Fiddler Dan, 1963. Children's poems.
  • Person to Person, 1964. Poems.
  • You Know Who, 1964. Children's poems.
  • The King Who Saved Himself from Being Saved, 1966. Children's story in verse.
  • This Strangest Everything, 1966. Poems.
  • The Monster Den, 1966. Children's poems.
  • An Alphabestiary, 1967. Poems.
  • The Paradiso, 1970. Translation.
  • Someone Could Win a Polar Bear, 1970. Children's poems.
  • Lives of X, 1971. Verse autobiography.
  • Manner of Speaking, 1972. Saturday Review columns.
  • The Little That Is All, 1974. Poems.
  • Fast & Slow, 1975. Children's poems.
  • The Divine Comedy, 1977. All three sections published together.
  • Limericks: Too Gross or Two Dozen Dirty Dozen Stanzas, 1978. With Isaac Asimov.
  • For Instance, 1979. Poems.
  • A Browser's Dictionary, 1980. Etymology.
  • A Grossery of Limericks, 1981. With Isaac Asimov.
  • A Second Browser's Dictionary, 1983. Etymology.
  • Selected Poems, 1984.
  • The Birds of Pompeii, 1985. Poems.
  • Doodle Soup, 1985. Children's poems.
  • Good Words to You, 1987. Etymology.
  • Poems of Love and Marriage, 1988.
  • Saipan: The War Diary of John Ciardi, 1988.
  • Blabberhead, Bobble-Bud & Spade, 1988. Collection of children's poems.
  • Ciardi Himself: Fifteen Essays in the Reading, Writing, and Teaching of Poetry, 1989.
  • Echoes: Poems Left Behind, 1989.
  • The Hopeful Trout and Other Limericks, 1989. Children's poems.
  • Mummy Took Lessons and Other Poems, 1990. Children's poems.
  • Stations of the Air, 1993. Poems.
  • The Collected Poems of John Ciardi, 1997. Edited by Edward M. Cifelli.
  • Someone Could Win a Polar Bear

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